Sending our apprentices on an Outward Bound course is the most impactful way of getting apprentices to deliver excellent customer service, and understand how our customers think and respond. Richard Welch, Aftersales Training and Development Manager, Retailer Learning Services

Advanced Apprenticeship Programme

Business need

Volkswagen's Advanced Apprenticeship Programme is designed to train and develop apprentices to keep pace with advancing technology and high levels of customer service. As part of their apprenticeship, every apprentice is encouraged to demonstrate initiative and to contribute his or her own ideas for improving customer service or developing the business.



Volkswagen Group UK have worked in partnership with Outward Bound since 2005 to deliver a programme that helps their apprentices to achieve this objective, by:

  • Building awareness of their importance in delivering exceptional customer service and the customer’s importance to business and brand
  • Taking ownership of their own development


Volkswagen have seen an increase in apprentice retention throughout the duration of their Outward Bound programme.

They have also reported the following improvements in their apprentices:

  • 85% improve their customer awareness
  • 97% improve their self-confidence and teamworking capability


The apprentices attend a week long residential programme, designed to develop the key behaviours relevant to the customer focussed approach of the Volkswagen Group UK - specifically communication, taking responsibility and ownership of issues and teamwork. 

Our programme incorporates a range of outdoor challenges that build in complexity during the week, to give them experience and build their confidence in the planning and preparation for tasks. After each activity the apprentices participate in a facilitated reflection session to review their experience and define action points for supporting customer service on return to the workplace.

About Volkswagen Group UK

One in every five cars sold in the UK is made by Volkswagen Group. Their brands include Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. They are a customer-focused operation whose people have a passion for what they do, a genuine desire to go further for customers and to give their own careers real momentum at the same time.

Volkswagen Group's experience with Outward Bound